Noah’s Eclectic Bistro (Charleston)

The first thing to know about Noah’s is that it is small; 11 tables in all and that includes a couple of two tops. Reservations are pretty much a must here, especially from Thursday to Saturday. The second thing to know is that the menu is even smaller and changes every week. In many ways, that’s a good thing as Chef Noah Miller is choosing the freshest possible items for that week’s selections. But, if you have food allergies or are a picky eater, you really need to scope out the menu before you go. When ready, it is posted as a .pdf under the dinner menu at http://noahseclectic.com/. This past week, for instance, there were two entree selections: a beef tenderloin in a port wine demi with Dauphinois potatoes, and roasted cauliflower with bacon; and a pan roasted halibut with assorted baby vegetable and natural lemon jus. Fortunately, the first choice presented no issues for Missy’s food allergies and away we went.

Noah’s is in the old Delish space on McFarland Street, so space is at a premium and is used for wine, not beer. The wine selection is good, however (at least it appears that way to me, but I am hardly a wine expert). We began with appetizers: a bluefin tuna duo for me and the goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms for Missy. The tuna consisted of a few slices of high-grade sashimi tuna and a serving of lightly seared tuna with olives, confit tomato and lemon. The sashimi was good, if you like that sort of thing (I do) as the tuna was very good quality. The seared tuna was more reminicsent of really good sushi where the chef is trying to mingle flavors well; here the lemon and tomato brightened the fish and the olive gave it an earthy undertone. Missy’s squash blossoms looked fantastic. They were lightly-fried and served with a touch of sauce made from piquillo peppers (a sweet Spanish chili pepper).

Missy, of course, got the tenderloin which was supposed to be medium rare but was actually more medium to medium well. She said the cut had great flavor to make up for the overcooking, but the star was the creamy Dauphinois potatoes that she saved for last. I would have tried it, but was afraid of losing a finger. My halibut was very good and mild and the lemon jus accented the fish without screaming “big citrus taste.” The baby vegetables were a Noah’s Ark of fall flavors, as there were two each of asparagus, green beans, potatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, and roasted garlic. I finished the meal with a near perfect lemon curd that was tart, with fresh sweet berries, light crisp phyllo and a creamy mascarpone topping. In all, a very satisfying meal.

So, I guess the last thing to know about Noah’s is that it is very good. It’s pricy ($30 to $40 an entree and $10 for an appetizer or dessert), but the food is fresh. I’ve had friends tell me that sometimes Noah’s go for unusual taste combinations that dont work, but all ours in this one meal did. It’s one of the better places in town (I liked the food better than Lawry’s, and it is much less formal) and I’d recommend it to Charleston visitors or locals who want to enjoy a night out. Just make sure to scope out the menu ahead of time.

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